Boko Haram Declares “war” on Christians in Nigeria

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AFRICA | PERSECUTION

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Boko Haram Declares “war” on Christians in Nigeria

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram has declared “war” on Christians in Nigeria, saying that they are planning coordinated attacks to “eradicate Christians from certain parts of the country," reports Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service.

According to a story by Barnabas Aid, a spokesman for the group, which has stepped up its violent campaign against Christians in the North since Christmas, said on March, “We will create so much effort to end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state that the Christians won’t be able to stay.”

Barnabas Aid said Boko Haram’s actions over recent months indicate that this is more than just talk.

Following a series of attacks on churches and other targets in five states over Christmas that left more than 40 people dead, the group on New Year’s Day issued a three-day deadline for Christians to leave the North. Unrelenting attacks have ensued, including the bombing of a number of churches as well as attacks on individual Christians.

Barnabas aid said on Feb. 26, a suicide bomber drove a car into the grounds of the Church of Christ headquarters in Jos. The vehicle exploded three meters from the church building. Two women and an 18-month-old child were killed, and around 50 people were injured.

Barnabas Aid said the violence is having the intended effect of driving Christians from the North. Nearly 95 per cent of Christians have left Yobe State, where 20 churches have been torched and many lives have been lost.

Barnabas Aid said some are heading to the mainly Christian South, while others are crossing the border into Cameroon. The mass migration is precipitating a major humanitarian and spiritual crisis in Nigeria.

Northern Christians who have been forced to leave behind their homes and jobs are in great need, while as the Christian presence diminishes, the Church is being wiped off the map in the North.

Barnabas Aid said Boko Haram has killed around 1,000 people since 2009 in its bloody campaign to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria. As well as attacking Christians, the group targets police, security forces and politicians, and also Muslim leaders who oppose its agenda. Over 300 people have been killed so far this year.

According to Barnabas aid, the government has been trying to curtail Boko Haram’s activities, deploying military units across the country, and arresting and killing a number of members in recent weeks. But issuing the latest threat, the group’s spokesman said that the government “cannot be prepared for what is to come.”

Barnabas Aid provides assistance to the persecuted church.

For more information go to www.barnabasfund.org

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